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On a site I moderate we have a couple chat rooms that are valuable but infrequently-used, so the odds are good that when somebody does want to use the room it's been automatically frozen and they need to get a moderator to unfreeze it first. That creates a bottleneck and is a bit of hassle for all involved. As a moderator, I would like to be able to empower specific users to unfreeze (and, for parity, freeze). That would allow me to appoint a trusted caretaker from among the room's regular users.

Room owners do not currently have this ability. While adding freeze/unfreeze to the powers of room owners would fix my problem, that might raise other problems. Room owners are automatically assigned to ownerless rooms (like new ones) based on activity not merit, and anybody with a little reputation can create a room on his parent site and then would be able to keep it alive forever. Maybe that's not a problem (if a room starts generating complaints moderators can change its owners), but it's something to consider.

I'm tagging this rather than because I have a problem and one possible way to fix it. But before I ask for expanded room-owner powers I'm asking: what would be the best way to enable selected non-moderators to administer designated chat rooms? Is giving the power to room owners a reasonable approach? Is there a better one?

In the specific case that prompts this question, we have a user who wrote and maintains some tools that are very valuable on our site, and we've found that the best venue on the network for discussing bugs and feature requests is a dedicated chat room. I want to make it easy for that user to make things easier for the rest of our users.

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    What about a 30 / 40k thing? – Tim May 3 '15 at 19:44
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    @Tim that seems somewhat orthogonal. We have high-rep users who never visit chat and lower-rep ones who know their way around chat very well. Just as we don't require a high rep to be a site moderator, I don't really want to require a high rep for this function. Also, as a practical matter, chat works by aggregate reputation, not per-site rep, so that could end up with people who've never visited a site being owners of some of its rooms. That seems a little odd. – Monica Cellio May 3 '15 at 19:47
  • Hmm fair points. I think Mad's suggestion is perfect though! – Tim May 3 '15 at 19:47
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I'd prefer for mods to have the ability to mark rooms that should never be frozen. Unfreezing rooms that are important, but used rarely like mod chat on small sites is just busy work.

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    Oh, that would be even better! – Monica Cellio May 3 '15 at 19:44
  • Doesn't really matter for mod rooms, as everyone there can talk while it's frozen and could unfreeze it anyway. – Kevin May 3 '15 at 19:58
  • I know, it still gets unfrozen either because not all mods know this, or just because leaving it frozen annoys some mods. – Mad Scientist May 3 '15 at 20:00
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    Related: Antifreeze for Chat rooms – Scimonster May 3 '15 at 21:06
  • Workaround: Just have a bot post a message to the chat room once ever 13th day or so. I have a bot running that is capable of doing that. – Simon Forsberg Aug 19 '15 at 15:26
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I think that giving the power to room owners is fair.

Room owners already have many administrative privileges in their rooms. Things such as changing feeds, pinning messages, moving messages, changing access, and a some other things.

Adding freeze/unfreeze seems to be a logical extension.

As Monica said in the question, if a certain room owner makes trouble for the site's chat, the moderators have the power to step in and remove them as an owner. But honestly, the benefits outweigh the downsides.

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